Syria’s rebels have inflicted the third significant defeat in two months on pro-Assad forces south of Aleppo city.In a sudden offensive on Friday, the Jaish al-Fatah rebel bloc overran Iranian forces and Iranian-led Iraqi and Afghan militia east and south of Khan Tuman, close to the Aleppo-to-Damascus highway Among the positions captured were a large military fuel depot and Iranian weapons stores. Four villages — Khirbat Mirata, al-Qarassi, al-Humayra, and Qalaajiyah (see map) were taken. On the frontline with rebels: See more videos in Syria Developing: Rebels Renew Advance South of Aleppo, Defeat Iranian Forces
The rebels and the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra. succeeded despite, in the words of one local source, “Insane air attacks on the battlefield. Russia and regime deploying everything that can fly.”
Rebels may now try to open a 5-km (3-mile) corridor from the front to Aleppo city:Syrian and Iranian State media have ignored the developments, but pro-regime outlets have acknowledged the losses.At the start of April, Jaish al-Fatah captured the town of al-Eis on the Aleppo-to-Damascus highway. In early May, they moved into Khan Tuman, overrunning the Iranian-led units and inflicting scores of casualties. The Iranians and foreign militias lost more troops in subsequent failed attempts to retake the town.Rebels have now regained most of the territory lost in southern Aleppo since last autumn’s Russian aerial intervention, accompanying a regime-Iranian-Hezbollah ground offensive.
There are few, if any, Syrian Army units on the frontlines now. The regime is concentrating its forces on an offensive against the Islamic State which entered Raqqa Province in northern Syria on Friday. www.mesop.de